Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic (typical) sound.
Burping; Eructation; Gas - belching
Belching is most often a normal process. The purpose of belching is to release air from the stomach. Every time you swallow, you also swallow air, along with fluid or food.
As the air builds up in the upper stomach, it causes stretching of the stomach that triggers the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax. This lets air escape up the esophagus and out the mouth.
Excessive or repeated belching may be caused by unconsciously swallowing air (aerophagia).
Depending on the cause, belching may change in duration and intensity. Symptoms such as nausea,
- Pressure caused by the unconscious swallowing of air
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Review Date: 10/31/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.